I joined the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department in January 2003 to pursue molecular epidemiology and to continue my investigations of fungal-like plant pathogens known collectively as oomycetes. I trained under Dr. Mary Hausbeck, a vegetable specialist at Michigan State University (MSU), and during my doctoral training became a true admirer of these fascinating and highly destructive organisms. Prior to starting at UT, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at MSU and over the past 10+ years have had the privilege of working with diverse scientists worldwide, primarily characterizing populations in the genus Phytophthora. I’m fully mesmerized by the power of genetics to illuminate worlds once cloaked in darkness.
The overarching goal is to genetically characterize the extreme plasticity of the oomycete genome during sexual and asexual spore production and subsequent survival, spread and plant infection.
- Fine-scale genetic investigation of chromosomal dosage (ploidy) during oospore, sporangia and zoospore production.
- Spatiotemporal investigation of genome stability during growth as mycelium.
- Genetic investigation of diverse economically important oomycete plant pathogens during naturally occurring epidemics including vegetable blight caused by Phytophthora capsici and downy mildew of spinach caused by Peronospora effusa.
- The impact of genome plasticity on adaptation to human-mediated selection pressures, including deployment of resistant germplasm and application of oomycete-toxic chemicals.
main office (865) 974-7135
mobile (865) 387-5154
fax (865) 974-4744
433 Plant Biotechnology Building
2505 EJ Chapman Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4560
B.A., Biology, University of Toledo
Ph.D., Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University
Graduate program concentrations
Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions
Areas of expertise
Population and evolutionary genetics/genomics of plant pathogens
Research questions in our laboratory
current lab members